Belief without Belonging
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Belief Without Belonging
Page 17

Empty Church Pews

Empty Church PewsThe phrase "Believing without Belonging" or "Belief without Belonging" was coined by Grace Davie in the 1990's and has been described as akin to "Cash and Carry Christianity" or "Cafeteria Catholicism." In the Protestant wing of the church when members required a baptism, a wedding or a funeral but were not intending to become committed to membership it was called "Cash and Carry Christianity." They came to the church to obtain certain services like an infant baptism, confirmation or a wedding but felt no compulsion to stay or become a regular member. It was like going into a supermarket to pick up certain items off the shelves. In the Roman Catholic Church today, many of the faithful themselves practice "Cafeteria Catholicism" and want to decide which regulations like birth control or abortion restrictions to obey and to follow or not to follow. The church may or may not agree with birth control or abortion but the church member does whatever suits them best! It is an yet another example of what happens when deluded people say they are "spiritual but not religious."

Cash and Carry Christianity

Individual Rights"Cash and Carry Christianity", involving belief but not belonging, is hindering both the Roman Catholic and Protestant mainline churches. The selfish individualism of our "Me" society has damaged the Christian community. The loss of respect for the corporate church is one of the reasons why our congregations have suffered a steep decline in numbers and in influence in society over the last ten years in favor of individual rights. Societal rights have taken a back seat to children's rights, prisoners' rights, gender rights, ethnic rights, same sex rights and many others. Other institutions like the police service, school teachers and the legal system are seen as things to be challenged if individuals don't agree with the institutional rules. In many people's minds they are always right and must have their own way no matter what.

Individual Rights

Gothic ChurchWithin the church, we have also lost touch our corporate spirituality as the Body of Christ. Our beliefs have become cold and formal and we no longer have the same sense of belonging to a community that previous generations experienced. The individual not the community group has sadly become the foundational unit of society. Individual freedoms however have to join hands with corporate rights in any truly just and fair society to prevent it breaking down. It is the problem with adopting a concept of being politically correct rather than being Biblically correct.✞

"Belief without Belonging"
by Ron Meacock © 2019

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